Have you ever tried to engage your spouse in morning conversation, only to feel frustrated by their lack of response? Conversely, have you tried to connect with your spouse after work, but felt hurt by their unwillingness to engage?

In both situations, the transition time may have contributed to your marriage problems.

When you move between transitions, it’s not always easy to keep your focus. For example, some spouses have a hard time waking up in the morning. It’s not the best time for them to engage in a high-attention activity, like an important conversation, at that time.
For other spouses, their workday is full of stimulation. It may take them a while to decompress after work. They need time to transition from high alert to relaxed.
Our brains are wired to process only so much information at once. We have amazing capabilities to process thousands of stimuli every second, but we also have limits.
During transition times, our brains are shifting from one set of stimuli to the next. If you throw another set of stimuli onto your spouse during transition times, you are likely to get negative responses.
Poorly navigated transition times create tension in your marriage. Arguments happen most often during four transition times each day:

  1. Bedtime
  2. Waking up
  3. Leaving for work
  4. Returning from work

The good news is, these transitions are predictable. They can be easy triggers for showing love. Use these strategies to deal with transition times.

Houston Marriage Counseling: 4 Strategies for Dealing with Transitions

1. Discuss your most challenging transition times. Maybe you are most vulnerable when you get up in the morning, and your spouse needs to give you space then. Perhaps your spouse is most sensitive when returning from work, so they need time alone to readjust. Talk with your spouse about your preferences, and handle those times accordingly.

2. Build positive connections into transition times. Remember to hug or kiss each other before you leave for work or before you go to bed. These are easy habits to develop to increase your connection. Kind words or thoughtful acts of service are also good during transition times. For example, bring your spouse a cup of coffee in the morning, or give them a daily compliment when they return from work.

3. Put each other first. If you have children or pets, it’s tempting to attend to their needs and overlook your spouse. Consider ways you can give your spouse priority in those important transition times. They will feel loved and valued if you make it a habit.

4. Keep going. New habits take time to develop. Continue showing love during transitions for several weeks, and you’ll notice positive changes.
Need more help? Seek Houston marriage counseling or take a couples workshop to learn more valuable relationship skills.